When something unexpected happens I wonder what am I suppose to learn from this?
My last post I wrote about our High Efficiency washer breaking down. I have been hand washing our laundry for over a week now and still one week to go before the service man comes out to check the washer.
I have always hand washed some of our laundry but I use the washer too because I have it but I don't like how the High Efficiency washers wash and rinse because it does not clean the laundry, mostly it does not rinse them well.
We have never returned an appliance before but when we bought our first high efficiency washing machine we returned the first one, then the second one and was too embarrassed to return the third. Our HE machine has a glass top and I can see how bad it washes and especially the worse part is there is not enough water to rinse the clothes well. You may love yours but I do not.
Last week (Photo shown above) I was using the small wash top next to the deep sink and my deep buckets.
So with some creative thinking and effort we added a new slab. We wanted to make a cement or stone area but we had this top so we wanted to do this with little cost. We tilted it back and to the right so the water drains into a trough and comes out on the left side and goes into a bucket.
This is looking down the back trough flows into the side trough and the water goes into the bucket.
You can see here how this works. As I soap up the item and add water the soapy water runs down the top and into the trough. This is fairly dirty and soapy water and the dirtiest water we pour down the toilet or use it for flushing the toilet even though we use non toxic soap.
The more clear rinse water we water our bushes and trees and whatever seems to need water. If there is something especially dirty I use rinse water for the first wash of the especially dirty laundry, thus recycling the water.
Recycling the water helps to save water, I use the soaking/plunging water to add to other buckets that need more water with an exception of the dark clothes because that water can cause discoloration.
When I am washing Charles pants I soak them first, then plunge them with a laundry plunger then take them to the flat top and use a laundry bar of soap and rub the waist band, the knees, the bottom of the pants and any areas that may be especially dirty. I then scrub with a brush or scrubby. They get very clean this way.
I add a few cups of water to keep it good and wet using water from the soaking bucket. Then change to clear water as I start rinsing, squeeze, rinse, squeeze etc.
I keep fresh water to the right of the top and pour water over what I am washing and keep squeezing and adding a bit of water until it has rinsed most of the soap out.
But before I do all of that,
The first thing I do is separate the laundry and put it into buckets to soak with a small amount of laundry soap.
This day was darks, colors, whites and wiping cloths.
And on this day (above) was queen size sheets, pillow cases, whites, colors and darks. All of this is being washed outside in buckets and using this top that they are sitting on in this picture for scrubbing.
Now you must be thinking I use a lot of water. I do not use as much as the high efficiency washer, yes the one that does not use enough water. Charles and I have been doing a water study and we have been measuring as well as reading our water meter before I wash and after I finish. We also did a water study when we first started using the HE washer.
I have everything soaking here.
This water in the yellow pot will be heated to use for the sheets and underclothes and such. Yes, I am wearing my lovely ventilated garden shoes. :)
This is very hot water I always put in this pot for bathroom cloths.
The tall blue barrels are used for plunging sheets and blankets.
I start with the cleanest clothes and add that soaking water to other buckets as I go through the buckets, that soaking water is being reused for the plunging part.
This is the plunging part.
Each piece of laundry is touched and scrubbed. I really like how I am in charge of how clean I get my clothes. This was on the small top before we redesigned the top.
I soap and scrub the items one by one. This is a good thing because I inspect everything we wear instead of just tossing it into the wash.
I squish it good and then start adding water to rinse. Rinsing is the most important part of washing clothes.
After rinsing I put it through the wringer.
I keep a bucket of fresh water for extra rinsing. In this bucket is a pair of black pants.
I wash the pillow cases and sheets in this blue 15 gallon barrel. I do not use 15 gallons of water, this is just the size of this barrel.
I get a good work out doing this. The plunger does very well. I used to wash everything in this barrel but I can wash in the buckets and flat top with much less water. I like this barrel for large things because it is tall and narrow and the water level gives a very good plunge height. I start off with the pillow cases and plunge them, then one sheet at a time so I can get them real clean.
This barrel is one we cut the top off and Charles added a metal ring to keep it from folding in since it dose not have a rim.
I have some pillow cases rinsing here and then put them through the wringer.
The sheets getting rinsed here in the deep sink.
So this day of the large load, if I was not washing by hand, I would have washed one large wash in my HE machine to do the sheets. The deep wash for sheets and blankets in the HE uses about 40 gallons of water in the machine.
The dark clothing I washed I would have washed using the HE machine in a small level which would have used 20 gallons of water, then another small to medium load to wash the whites, another 20 gallons of water. Total at least 80 gallons of water.
The day I Hand washed and rinsed the large amount of laundry, the sheets and pillow cases, the dark clothes, and the whites I used 45.2 gallons of water. This counts cleaning the buckets, the wash top and items.
Another day I hand washed darks, colors and whites but no sheets so I did not need to use the blue barrel and I used 20.7 gallons of water to hand wash and rinse. I filled the clothes line both times and had to use the overflow lines.
Some people have videos about the right way to hang laundry. I do not know of a right way unless the right way is to get them to dry.
Now about drying laundry and living in the deep south. When I lived in Oklahoma many years ago I could hang my laundry on the clothesline and pin it like this, shown above.
I cannot do that here in the deep south unless I want everything to have damp corners.
I hang everything separate and straight up, not bending over so it will dry properly.
I just catch the garment and clip against the line.
I keep a good amount of clothes pins and I hang even the rags I hang flat and clipped on both ends, not lapped over so the corners are not damp when it is time to take them off the line.
I hang pants inside out so the pockets will dry and sun will not fade the dark clothes. I only leave dress shirts on the line briefly then take them down and put them on a hanger and let them dry the rest of the way inside the house so they do not fade.
There is an exception, tshirts and stretchy things I will fold over and then gather them a bit so they don't stretch out. If they don't dry completely I just hang them in the house to finish drying.
Also small thin cloth I can overlap.
We have two clothes lines, this one is for overflow. The large clothesline has five lines and this one has three lines. It looks very shady in these photos but it is very early in the morning. Each day I have had my laundry washed, rinsed and out on the line before 8:00 AM, most days before 7:00.
When I finish cleaning the laundry area and the buckets I turn my buckets upside down.
And what I have learned during this time our washing machine is not working is that I needed a new plan for saving water including hand washing dishes too and so I have done a lot of studying on this so I can save water at the sink.
California is going on tight water restrictions and there seems to be more and more states having water issues. Some is from contamination, some due to droughts and all I know is that water is precious. Our state (Alabama) and neighboring states (Georgia and Tennessee) have been having water wars so to speak so while, (called the tri-state water wars) they are figuring out who is going to get water and who is not. I will be figuring out how to better use what we do get. I don't want to waste it.
I have written about the logs that Charles and I keep and Charles has been reading our electric meter and water meter each morning for a few years now. This makes us very conscious of what we use. It has led to saving us money.
For the month of July we are setting a goal for less water use and this week we will make the decision what our number goals will be. This week we will be practicing and getting an idea what is reasonable.
So the washing machine going out of order is a good thing. We have learned new things this week and one thing is that we need to live more simple, have less waste and use more simple methods of doing things even if they take more work. Grandma Donna